resident Donald Trump
on Saturday announced that a woman is in ‘first place’ to receive his Supreme Court nomination to fill the vacancy caused by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.
He named two conservative women who he has elevated to federal appeals courts as contenders, a move that would tip the court further to the right.
Trump, who now has a chance to nominate a third justice to a lifetime appointment on the court, named Amy Coney Barrett, 48, of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit and Barbara Lagoa, 52, of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit as possible nominees.
He praised Lagoa, in particular, as an ‘incredible person’.
The president did not commit to a timeline for the nomination but he is expected to announce the name within the next seven days after saying he was ‘obligated’ to so so ‘without delay’.
According to CNN, a source said that the announcement of the nomination could rely on when Ginsburg’s burial takes place.
Even before Ginsburg’s death, Trump had made public a list of potential nominees.
Barrett has generated perhaps the most interest in conservative circles. A devout Roman Catholic, she was a legal scholar at Notre Dame Law School in Indiana before Trump appointed her to the 7th Circuit in 2017.
A Barrett nomination would likely ignite controversy, as her strong conservative religious views have prompted abortion-rights groups to say that if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would likely vote to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
Lagoa has served on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for less than a year after being appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate on an 80-15 vote. Prior to that she also spent less than a year in her previous position as the first Latina to serve on the Florida Supreme Court.
She previously spent more than a decade as a judge on an intermediate appeals court in Florida.
Another candidate Trump has considered previously is Amul Thapar. He was a district court judge in Kentucky – the first federal judge of South Asian descent – before Trump appointed him to the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit in 2017.
Ginsburg’s death on Friday from cancer after 27 years on the court handed Trump, who is seeking re-election on November 3, the opportunity to expand its conservative majority to 6-3 at a time of a gaping political divide in America.
Conservative activists for years have sought to get enough votes on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised to appoint justices who would overturn that decision.
But the court in July, even with its conservative majority, struck down a restrictive Louisiana abortion law on a 5-4 vote.
The two justices already appointed by Trump were Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
Kavanaugh’s confirmation process was particularly heated, as he faced accusations by a California university professor, Christine Blasey Ford, that he had sexually assaulted her in 1982 when the two were high school students in Maryland.
Kavanaugh angrily denied those accusations and was narrowly confirmed.
Any nomination would require approval in the Senate, where Trump’s Republicans hold a 53-47 majority.
‘We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices,’ Trump said on Twitter.
‘We have this obligation, without delay!’
Not all Republican senators supported the move: Maine’s Susan Collins on Saturday said Trump should hold off on nominating.
‘In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd,’ Collins, facing a tough re-election race herself, said on Twitter.
Democrats are still seething over the Republican Senate’s refusal to act on Democratic President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016 after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died 10 months before that election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said then that the Senate should not act on a court nominee during an election year, a stance he has since reversed.
Even if Democrats win the White House and a Senate majority in the November election, Trump and McConnell have time as the full new Congress would not be sworn in until Jan. 3
Senior congressional Democrats raised the prospect of adding additional justices next year to counterbalance Trump’s nominees if they win control of the White House and Senate in the November election.
McConnell, who has made confirmation of Trump’s federal judicial nominees a top priority, said the chamber would vote on any Trump nomi….